Updated: Jul 13
Welcome friends to another week. I woke up thinking about divisions in the church body this morning. As believers, it saddens me to think we attend different churches based on race (number one), doctrine, and other reasons. It also distresses me to see how the body of Christ has divided over time. God never meant for the church to be a place of division; however, it is common in these days and times we live.
Paul mentions divisions at least three times; there are 51 instances in the Bible.
Now I beg you, brothers, through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10
For first of all, when you come together in the assembly, I hear that divisions exist among you, and I partly believe it. 1 Corinthians 11:18
that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 1 Corinthians 12:25
Divisions in the church are not new. Paul dealt with this issue in the church at Corinth. During Paul’s time, churches divided due to doctrine. Sadly, today there are factions in churches dividing them from within, such as skin color, nationality, doctrine, and power, which causes hurt feelings and distrust. Even within denominations, churches split.
As I thought about division, I realized three facts: first, race is the single most divider of churches. Race should never divide the body of Christ. Did you know about 87% of churches in America are Black only? The largest denomination is Baptist which means only 13 percent of churches today have either entirely mixed congregations or one other ethnic group attending. Don’t get me wrong; I am not speaking about race. I have fought against race all of my life; I believe a person is a person regardless of skin color. God made us in his image. So why are there so many racial divisions among God’s people?
Another fact causing division is doctrine or theology or the lack thereof. Many churches love the world so much they want the church to conform to the world. (Hillsong is a great example.) Rather than focusing on outreach (saving the lost); the pure message of the gospel, many concentrate on membership numbers which leads to feel-good messages that offer dessert rather than meat. They offer many fellowship avenues that do not teach but are more like a picnic atmosphere. (I am not saying this is wrong, we need activities to build us up; however, activities may become excessive or counterproductive.)
Many churchgoers may concentrate on themselves and “what’s in it for me” rather than Christ. Various members do not want to hear the truth but rather have their ears tickled, so they leave the church feeling good rather than convicted of their sins. Churches may endorse famous personalities who claim Christianity (Their salvation is not for us to judge.) to increase memberships. Sadly, if a celebrity’s doctrine sounds correct, churches embrace it rather than investigate it for themselves. Therefore, from within the church, people conform to the world instead of Christ, leading to divisions within the congregation.
Romans 12:2 tells us this: Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Finally, the other huge issue is Biblical teachings about marriage and sexuality. This issue is very contentious and may cause many churches to split. Do you realize fifty-one percent of churches today disregard Biblical teachings concerning marriage and sexuality though the Bible is straightforward in this issue? Paul’s gospel talks about separation and congregational splits in 1 Corinthians 3:1-6. The world dictates separation when people disagree; however, the Lord never endorsed separation. God knew from the beginning separation would occur due to doctrine or other policies. Church separation due to politics, leadership, or doctrine within individual churches affects everyone. People become angry and then choose sides. We must follow Christ and not men.
Brothers, I couldn’t speak to you as to spiritual, but as to fleshly, as to babies in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren’t yet ready. Indeed, you aren’t ready even now, 3 for you are still fleshly. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, aren’t you fleshly, and don’t you walk in the ways of men? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you fleshly? 5 Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed, and each as the Lord gave to him? 6 I planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase. 1 Corinthians 3: 1-6 WEB
The following three verses describe our Christian churches today:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; Ephesians 4:14
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
To add to this we know that:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affections, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:2
Church is a place to go in empty and come out full, refreshed, and be like-minded. Sadly, “many Christians” will be left behind when Christ comes for his church. Paul spoke plainly about the church, its role, and its purpose. I am not saying we should not attend a church of our choice; however, the church should be grounded in God’s word, not society’s standards of church behavior. That said, churches should also be the heart of God, love the lost, each other, evangelize, not divide over trivial matters, nor allow the world to infiltrate its walls or mission. I understand this is a heavy subject; however, I feel this issue is significant and should be addressed.
I hope you have a great week. Please do not forget to visit my Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUp3arHvH_ZMI1pXGx8vz4w for the shortened companion video to this blog. Please email me at mailto:email@example.com or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week.